img

Alex Iwobi, Mohamed Elneny giving Arsene Wenger pause for thought

 

The expectation among Arsenal fans is that manager Arsene Wenger will still make some major additions in the current transfer window. However, the performances of Alex Iwobi and Mohamed Elneny in the Community Shield on Sunday -- and, in fact, through the entire preseason -- have given the Gunners' boss plenty to consider before making his next swoop.

Thus far, Arsenal have acquired only Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac, and although the former cost a club-record fee, it's believed the Gunners still have plenty left in the budget. The transfer market is relatively quiet on the eve of the Premier League season but is expected to burst into life in the final few weeks of the window in August. Having kept some powder dry, Wenger has the potential to be part of the forthcoming frenzy.

A deep-lying midfield player and a creative force are the two positions seemingly on his agenda, and the Ligue 1 pair of Jean Seri and Thomas Lemar have been the names most commonly linked with those berths. However, Elneny and Iwobi have both performed so well throughout the summer that Wenger must be wondering if he needs those signings after all.

The case of Elneny is an interesting one. Prior to the clash with Chelsea at Wembley, he spent most of the season as an emergency centre-half. Wenger has admitted he does not see Elneny's long-term future in central defence. Perhaps, besides simply making up the numbers, the idea was to try to toughen the Egyptian up. While defensively diligent, he has previously lacked aerial ability and aggression in the challenge. Both those attributes seemed markedly improved against Chelsea in the season's Community Shield curtain raiser, which Arsenal won on penalty kicks.

Elneny was everywhere, his tireless running a neat complement to Granit Xhaka's more measured approach. Elneny is the very definition of a box-to-box midfielder -- he regularly covers more ground than any other Arsenal player. It's also telling that, perhaps as a consequence of their respective time with Basel, Elneny and Xhaka seem to have struck up a good relationship both on and off the pitch.

SOURCE : Mirror